Saturday, April 3, 2021

Francis Marion Tison, Killed 1866

  ©  Kathy Duncan, 2021

Sometime before 1869, Edward Barber (1819 - 1901) divorced his first wife, Martha Giles, for in 1869 he married a widow named Sarah Tison who had two children. They were living in Worth County, Georgia at the time. 

Her first husband, Francis Marion Tison, died in a senseless argument over a box of sardines. While the newspaper termed his death a homicide, it seems doubtful that any charges were filed against Robert A. Lomax. So far, I have not located a trial or reference to charges against Lomax. This account appeared in The Weekly Georgia Telegraph on 20 August 1866 and was reprinted from the Albany Patriot of 11 August 1866. 


On Thursday evening last, a difficulty occurred between Mr. Robert A. Lomax, of East Albany, and F.M. Tison, of Worth County, in which Tison was instantly killed. The circumstances which led to this unfortunate affair are these: Tison, in company with several friends, had been to Albany on busi- while there he became intoxicated, and in returning home, in company with his friends, they stopped at the store of Mr. Lomax, and Tison bought a box of sardines, and then proffered to treat the crowd to whiskey, if Lemax would credit him. Mr. Lomax replied that he did not do a crediting business, and that he (Tison) had not paid him for the sardines. This seems to have made Tison mad, and he immediately paid for the sardines, and remarked that Lomax was a damned rascal, and that he would not trust him out of sight, etc. After a few angry words being passed, Tison returned to his buggy and started home. He did not proceed but a short distance, before he proposed to turn back and make Lomax retract what he said. His friends tried to persuade him from doing so, but he heeded them not, and immediately returned to the store and commenced cursing Lomax, and drew his pistol and fired twice, the second shot merely touching the underpart of the left ear of Lomax. Lomax then returned the fire with a double-barrel shot gun, through the window of his store, the whole load taking effect in the right lung of Tison, killing him almost instantly.

Such difficulties are to be regretted, but as self-preservation is the first law of nature, Mr. Lomax was perfectly justifiable in committing the deed. - Albany Patriot, 11th.

Initially, F.M. Tison's widow Sarah administered his estate.

By 1871 Edward Barber was the administrator for F. M. Tison's children.

Later in 1874, when an administrator was sought for F.M. Tison's children, Silvia Ann Lula Tison and William W. Tison, Sarah's new husband Edward Barber continued in that role. Estate records indicate that was the case. 

Edward Barber, 1819 - 1901

  ©  Kathy Duncan, 2021

In a previous post, I was able to link the Edward Barber who died in Jonesboro, Georgia to his father Thomas Barber, who died around 1829 in the portion of Lee County, Georgia that became Sumter County. Edward Barber was probably the oldest of the middle set of children. The three older Barber brothers, of whom Joseph was one, were the children of Thomas and his first wife Sarah Mashburn. The older boys were the heirs of their grandfather Thomas Mashburn of Onslow County, North Carolina. Edward Barber was the son of Thomas and his second wife Elizabeth. They seem to have had six children: Edward and five girls, only two of whom I have identified. When Thomas Barber died, Elizabeth married John Bowen, and they had children, so Edward also had a set of younger Bowen half-siblings. 

Since I highly suspect that my Joesph Barber was the same Joseph who was an older half-brother of Edward's, I have been trying to gather as much information on Edward as possible. I was hoping Edward would lead me to his siblings, but so far, that has not happened.

Still, Edward Barber was an interesting individual, and newspapers led me to most of what I have been able to learn about him.

In 1850, thirty-two-year-old Edward Barber seems to have been a boarder in the household of Warren Dikes of Dooly County, Georgia. Edward's occupation is listed as "merchant."

In 1852, Edward Barber of Dooly County, Georgia swore that he would not sell alcohol to slaves or free persons of color. This affidavit seems to have been a legal requirement of merchants rather than a voluntary action. 

By 1854, he was in Doughtery County, Georgia, where he married Martha Giles on 12 February 1854.

They were found on the 1860 Worth County, Georgia, census, but there is reason to think that Edward Barber was established there before they married. By August of 1854, Edward was the Deputy Sheriff of Worth County. That would seem to indicate that he was in the county well before he married Martha Giles.

Edward was responsible for publishing numerous sheriff's sales in Worth County. This seems to be the beginning of his political career. In May of the following year, Edward Barber represented Worth County at the Democratic Convention in Macon County, Georgia.

By 1856, Edward Barber was referred to as a lawyer in connection with the Worth County Democratic Meeting, but on the 1860 census, his occupation was "farmer."

In late 1856, Edward Barber transitioned from being a Deputy Sheriff to the Clerk of the Superior Court. He served as Clerk of the Superior Court from 14 July 1856 until 27 February 1860.
[Source: Worth County, Georgia History For the First Eighty Years, 1854 - 1934 by Mrs. Lillie Martin Grubbs]

By May of 1860, Edward Barber had opened a dry goods store in Isabella, Worth County, Georgia.

On the 1860 Worth County, Georgia census, Edward and Martha had three children: six-year-old Elizabeth, who was probably named after Edward's mother; three-year-old Preston; and an unnamed baby girl, probably Emma Jane.

From 15 October 1862 until 21 January 1865, Edward Barber served as an Inferior Court Judge of Worth County.
[Source: Worth County, Georgia History For the First Eighty Years, 1854 - 1934 by Mrs. Lillie Martin Grubbs]

Sometime near the end of the 1860s Edward and Martha Barber divorced and both of them remarried in Worth County, so the divorce was probably filed for there. Martha married A. W. Shaw on 5 June 1870 and took the youngest Barber child, Mary Della Barber, with her. Edward Barber married Sarah (Ford) Tison on 30 March 1869 in Dougherty County. She was a widow with small children. Her first husband, Francis Marion Tison, was killed during a drunken quarrel over a can of sardines. After the death of Edward, she sued his son Preston Barber for the property that she brought into the marriage. 

In 1870, Edward Barber was still in Worth County, Georgia with his family. The older Barber children were with him that year: Preston, age 13; Emma, age 11; Edward, age 9; Silvia, age 9; and William, age 4. Silvia and William have the surname Barber on the census, but they were the children of Sarah and Francis M. Tison. 

The family can be found in Jonesboro, Clayton County, Georgia by 1880. Several children were still living in the household: Preston Barber, age 22; Emma J Barber, age 20; Edward R. Barber age 18; Letice Tison, age 18; Welice W Tison, age 14. 

In 1886, Edward Barber purchased another dry goods store, this time in Jonesboro.

Edward Barber remained in Jonesboro until his death in 1901.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Administering Thomas Barber's Estate 1832 - 1841

  ©  Kathy Duncan, 2021

In trying to track down any records of the administration of the estate of Thomas Barber who died in Lee County, Georgia about 1829 or 1830, I have been stymied by burned courthouses. 

The Lee County, Georgia courthouse burned in 1858 with a total record loss. Then it burned again in 1872 with a partial record loss. The Dooly County, Georgia courthouse burned in 1847 with a total record loss. Since Thomas Barber died in Lee County and his estate was administered in Dooly County, records could have been filed in either courthouse. 

These newspaper notices establish a timeline for the administration of Thomas Barber's estate and supplement the records lost in the courthouse fires. 

In 1832, James Bowen, the second husband of Thomas Barber's widow, Elizabeth, made application to administer the Barber estate. This initial application clearly states that Thomas Barber was of Lee County, Georgia.

By late 1832, John Bowen was selling Thomas Barber's personal property. An inventory with appraisal would have needed to be filed first. That would have been followed with a record of how much each item sold for and who purchased it. Notice that this time Thomas Barber is termed as being "late of said county," which would be Dooly County in this instance. This appears to be in error unless Thomas Barber moved from Lee County to Dooly County shortly before his death.

By 1833 John Bowen was trying to sell the land that Thomas Barber had acquired through the Georgia Land Lottery of 1827. I recall that in 1833, Joseph Barber, Thomas Barber's son, had appointed a lawyer to recover his inheritance from his maternal grandfather, Thomas Mashburn of Onslow County, North Carolina. At the time Joseph Barber was living in Pulaski County, Georgia. Was he trying to raise money to buy his father's land? I also recall that Joseph Barber stated that both of his parents died intestate, so he was well aware Thomas Barber died without a will to protect his heirs' interests. 

Note that I found this by searching for John "Bowin." A search for Thomas Barber neglected to turn this up because his name was misspelled as "Barlee." 

The land is described as being lot number 64 in the 17th district, but other records indicate that Thomas Barber's land was lot number 164 in the 17th district. I'm not sure what is going on with the number difference. 

In 1834, Thomas Barber's land was still for sale. This notice clarifies that the land was located in Sumter County but was formerly Lee County. The 202 1/2 acres make it clear that this is Thomas Barber's draw in the land lottery since that was the size of those lots. Again, the land is termed as being lot 64 instead of lot 164. 

Notice that this time I found the notice just by using the keywords - Thomas Barber estate. This is how I figured out that John Bowen's name was sometimes spelled Bowin, so I did another search for him with that name and found the clipping above this one. 

It was surprising to find that John Bowen was still administering Thomas Barber's estate in 1837. Of course, there were probably still minor children at this point.

The administration of John Bowen's estate in 1839 revealed that when Bowen died, he had possession of Thomas Barber's land

The most surprising notice was this one from 1841 when James Guinn applied to administer Thomas Barber's estate. This raises a lot of questions. Who was James Guinn? Did he have a family connection to Thomas Barber? I'm thinking he could have been married to one of Thomas Barber's unknown daughters. And the really big question: what was there left to administer? If the land was gone and the personal property was gone, what was left for the support of the heirs? And where, oh where, will I find a complete list of the heirs?!

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Thomas Barber, 1832 Estate Sale

  ©  Kathy Duncan, 2021

In searching newspapers, you have to be aware that items are not always found in a straightforward manner. For example, this reference to Thomas Barber had not come up before. That might be because I had not used Dooly County as part of my search for him. As you can see, this ominous little clipping, regarding Thomas Barber, turned up just minutes ago in a search for John Bowen in Dooly County. 

The plot thickens.

By 1832, John Bowen and Thomas Barber's widow Elizabeth would have probably been married. We know from the documents in Thomas Mashburn's estate records that they were married by 1833. 

This clipping suggests that John Bowen has taken over the administration of Thomas Barber's estate, probably from Elizabeth. Remember that in 1830, she was a single head of household with six children, which would have been a lot of mouths to feed and bodies to clothe. Note that this sale of Thomas Barber's estate is for the "benefit of the heirs and creditors."

Now, I am thinking that this is when John Bowen acquired Thomas Barber's land. If he acquired the land at this time, I'm not sure whether this purchase was meant to protect the property of Thomas Barber's heirs or to seize control of it for himself. Certainly, by the time he died a few years later, it was regarded as the property of his Bowen heirs. The Barber children would not have been his heirs. 

This clipping does state that Thomas Barber was "late of said county," meaning Dooly County. There might have been other records for Thomas Barber in Dooly County, but, of course, they burned. 

John Bowen Owned Thomas Barber's Land

 ©  Kathy Duncan, 2021

Often newspapers come through when county records have burned.

In searching for more information on Thomas Barber's second wife Elizabeth, who as a widow married John Bowen, I came across this newspaper notice of a sale of property from John Bowen's estate by Richard Bowen. Richard's relationship to John Bowen is unknown to me at this point, but I would guess that he is one of John Bowen's sons.

What is of most interest to me is the first notice that details the sale of Lot NO. 164, 17th District of originally Lee, now Sumter county; belonging to the Estate of John Bowen."

Lot no. 164, 17th District of Lee County, Georgia was the very lot that Thomas Barber drew in the 1827 Georgia Land Lottery. This confirms my hunch that it was the area of Lee County that later became Sumter County, Georgia.

More importantly, I now have a clue to locating more records concerning this land. There are only a couple of ways that this property went from Thomas Barber to John Bowen and that would have been through a sale. Either John Bowen purchased it directly from Thomas Barber or at his estate sale. I don't think John Bowen would have owned it as a result of his marriage to Elizabeth Barber because each of Thomas Barber's children would have had a share in it at his death. That would have involved a total of eight shares if you count Elizabeth's share as the widow. 

This also tells me that John Bowen was a near neighbor of the Barber's in Lee County. 

What I can hope for now is that some reference to this land deed was recorded in Sumter County at a later date.  

Thomas Barber and His Son Edward

     ©  Kathy Duncan, 2021

If I could give beginning researchers any advice, it would be to research your ancestor's siblings and check newspapers for additional information.

I really intended for my next step in researching Thomas Barber to be a focus on Onslow County, North Carolina deeds, but I took a little newspaper break and found these gems instead. 

The first clipping was in the Savannah Morning News on 8 September 1885.

"Joseph Jackson, Thomas Cowart, Jack Cowart, and several others, came to Lee the second year it was organized. Thomas Barber was the father of Edward Barber, my correspondent, and he was said to have been the first white man buried in Lee county. His funeral took place fifty-five years ago. Jesse Jackson, the crippled son of Joseph Jackson, is, I am told, living yet."

This little tidbit confirms my theory that Edward Barber was the son of the Thomas Barber I am researching. The death of Thomas Barber fifty-five years before would fit with my theory that he had died about 1829, possibly early 1830 in Lee County. I still think this probably occurred in the portion of Lee County that became Sumter County. 

This article then went on to relate the experiences of an Uncle Mose and the night the stars fell. The way it was worded made me think there might be more information from the author's correspondent, Edward Barber. Since this article originally appeared in the Americus Recorder, I went searching for that paper. 

That search paid off in an additional newspaper column. Both of these appeared in the Americus Daily Recorder on 6 September 1885. Notice that this article is called "scraps and sketches of Sumter County History."

"Having seen an article from the RECORDER, copied in another paper, on the early history of this county, Mr. Edward Barber, of Jonesboro, writes me a few interesting facts for which he will please accept my thanks. His father came to Lee county when there were but twenty families within the wide boundaries of that vast wilderness. They had to go to old Hartford to mill, a distance of many miles over roads that were merely blazed out through the unbroken forest. Mr. Barber came as an overseer for Joseph Jackson, whose plantation was on Spring creek, near Flint river. He says that 'most of the time they ground their corn on a steel mill, people from ten miles around coming to the Barber's mill to grind their corn.' He remembers but one family, and that was Tomlinson, the same Tomlinson who was for years an honored representative of Sumter county in the legislative halls. Jared Tomlinson's name occurs very frequently in the old journals of the House and Senate. He is still enjoying a green old age, living in Albany, retired from the bustle of life, and doubtless his memory often runs backward to those early times when true worth and intrinsic merit paved the royal road to honorable preferment."

Among other things, this article tells me the vicinity of where the Barbers settled, that they had a mill. and that they came to Lee County with Joseph Jackson. Given that Thomas had a son named Jackson Barber that seems noteworthy. Joseph Jackson may have been a relative of Thomas Barber or his wife Sarah Mashburn. Since the one family Edward remembered was named Tomlinson, I want to be on the alert for any documents that include them. 

The presence of Joseph Jackson is noteworthy since my Joseph Barber's son George named one of his sons Joseph Jackson Barber. My thinking is still that the elder Joseph Barber did not have a middle name, or at least, he did not have one that can be documented. I'm now thinking that young George W. Barber heard stories of Joseph Jackson, a revered man who Joseph Barber knew in his youth, as well as stories of Joseph's brother Jackson, so he named his own son Joseph Jackson Barber. Additionally, Joseph Barber named his youngest known son Edward. I'm thinking that he named this son after his only surviving brother, Edward Barber. 

One of the most important bits of information was that Edward Barber was living in Jonesboro, Georgia in 1885. This should help me flesh out the records for him since I last found him in Dooly County in 1850. 

I am hoping that this will lead to more information about the Barbers. And, of course, there is an old mill to find. 

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Thomas Barber - A Paradigm Shift

    ©  Kathy Duncan, 2021

After spending a few hours searching Onslow County, North Carolina tax records Thomas Barber, father of Joseph Barber of Pulaski County, Georgia, I came to the conclusion that something was off in my calculations. Only one Thomas Barber turned up in those records from 1804 to 1815. By at least 1810 or 1811, there should have been two Thomas Barbers paying at least a poll tax each - Thomas who was on the 1810 census and the Thomas who married Sarah Mashburn and had three surviving sons with her Onslow County before 1817. But there was only Thomas Barber, and that meant something was off in my calculation that Thomas Barber was living with his father-in-law Thomas Mashburn 1810. 

As near as I can tell, Thomas Barber first appeared on the 1804 tax list of Capt. John Dunn. He had one poll tax and 250 acres. 

By the following year, 1805, he had 325 acres. He was still in Capt. Dunn's district and was listed next to Thomas Mashborne. I am guessing this is the Thomas Barber I am searching for and this is the same Thomas Mashborne who was his father-in-law. Also in the district that year were Thomas Barber's brother-in-law Mason Kimmey along with Daniel Mashborne and James Mashborne.

In 1806, Thomas Barber was still in Capt. Dunn's district, but now he had 525 acres. Thomas and Daniel Mashborne were also still in the district.

In 1807 and 1808, everything remained constant with Thomas Barber still owning 525 acres and his in-laws still nearby.

I did not find him 1809 and 1810, but that may just indicate a record loss.

Thomas Barber reappeared on the 1811 tax list, but that year he only had one poll and no land! What happened to his land? 

From 1812 through 1815, he had one poll and 100 acres of land. The 1815 tax list described his property as "pine land." Then records are spotty until around 1821 when Thomas Barber cannot be found in the same tax district with his Mashburne in-laws. That would fit since Thomas Barber was in Georgia by then. 

These records made me go back to the 1810 census with Thomas Barber's entry.

A closer look at that census revealed why I misread it: 

I counted the dashes across instead of the actual columns. An accurate reading of Thomas Barber's entry is this:

Thomas Barber 1001 - 02021

One male 0 - 9
One male 26 - 44 = Thomas Barber
Two females 10 - 15
Two females 26 - 44
One female 45 and older

On this census, Thomas Barber is in the same column that he is in on the 1820 census. Since he did not age out of this bracket, I would say that in 1810 he was 26 to 34 years old, born between 1784 and 1776 and that in 1820 he was 34 to 44 years old, again born between 1784 and 1776. If I add to that my findings from the Onslow County, North Carolina, tax lists, I would say that at the time he first acquired land in 1804, he was at least 21 years old, which is very young, but would make his birth by at least 1783 although he could be a little older. 

The boy under ten on the 1810 census could be my Joseph Barber. His birth year alternates from 1810 to 1811 on various census years. 

The women on this census are a mystery. I would guess that Thomas Barber's wife would also be in the 26 - 44 age column. At this point, the three other females are a mystery. I would think that since Thomas Mashborne was still living in 1810 that the older woman would not be his wife. She could be Thomas Barber's mother, or she could be an aunt to either Thomas and his wife. She could even be a grandmother. 

The next thing to study would be Thomas Barber's land deeds.